7 markets to watch in 2010

Which smaller areas have great cottage deals

By Bert ArcherBert Archer


1 comment

1. Thunder Bay’s inland lakes

This region has more than 20 major lakes, including Lac des Mille Lacs and Trout, Shebandowan, Loon, Sandstone, and Lottit lakes. Ontario’s third-busiest airport is in Thunder Bay, a regular destination from southern Ontario and Winnipeg.

What you’ll pay: $70-$200K.

Typical cottage: A three-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage on Trout Lake on a small lot with a sauna outbuilding sold for $124,000 last July.

Endorsement: “Thunder Bay is a thriving metropolis. It’s got absolutely everything,” says Jack Mallon, Royal LePage Lannon Realty (Thunder Bay). “Lakes are less than an hour from the airport, and the US border is sixty kilometres away.”

Ideal for: Cottagers who want it all: A remote getaway with awe-inspiring natural beauty and easy access to amenities.

Visit Thunder Bay.

2. Ipperwash

In the southern portion of the popular Lake Huron area, Ipperwash gets overlooked because of the stigma resulting from the now-resolved land-claim disputes of the 1990s.

What you’ll pay: $300-$500K.

Typical cottage: A four-season, three-bedroom, 1.5-garage Viceroy cottage with a sauna on a sandy beach sold last summer for $450K.

Endorsement: “Ipperwash is ninety-nine per cent beach. You can walk a hundred feet in and the water won’t go past your knees,” says Doug Pedlar, Re/Max Bluewater Realty. “Plus, we don’t have the bugs, which is important in late June.”

Ideal for: Beach lovers, deal hunters, and those looking for a family-oriented vibe. Pedlar says cottagers here tend to be young families and grandparents with small grandkids.

3. Kenogami

This northern Temiskaming hideout between Kenogami Lake and Lake Sesekinika is remote, with a half-dozen mostly clear and clean lakes and the Blanch River just off Hwy. 11. Stock ranges from rickety cabins to large log buildings.

What you’ll pay: $75-$350K.

Typical cottage: A three-bedroom, 1,350-sq.-ft. year-rounder on Labyrinth Lake was listed last season for $189K.

Endorsement: “There’s a lot of great fishing, and snowmobile trails that go to Timmins, Cochrane, Kirkland Lake, and even into Quebec. And it’s certainly less expensive than southern Temagami,” says Bill Byers of Coldwell Banker Temiskaming Realty.

Ideal for: Hunters, anglers, and ATVers. Your neighbours, in year-round homes, may be gold miners, who work in the area and are benefiting from a boom in gold right now.

Visit Kenogami.

4. Rice Lake

The cottaging here is almost urban; neighbours may only be 10 feet away. The upside: Small lots mean entry-level cottages.

What you’ll pay: $150-$300K.

Typical cottage: A two-bedroom with fishing off the dock on the Otonabee River on a 61-foot by 100-foot lot went in 2009 for $165K.

Endorsement: “It’s not a ‘high-end’ lake. You don’t get your two-acre lots. But it’s much more affordable than other areas, especially for being so close to urban centres,” says Sandra Macklin, Re/Max Eastern Realty.

Ideal for: Anglers: Rice Lake is shallow and fertile, and described as having more fish per acre than any lake in the province. As of January, ice fishing is allowed.

Visit Rice Lake.

5. Almaguin Highlands

Strewn with small lakes on the Pickerel River system, the area is 95 per cent Crown land, i.e., a lot of unspoiled beauty and no crowds—unless you count wildlife.

What you’ll pay: $150-$250K.

Typical cottage: A 768-sq.-ft. cottage with two bedrooms on about an acre of Caribou Lake waterfront sold last year for $216K.

Endorsement: “Once you come, you don’t leave. There is very little turnover,” says Joe Whitmell, Pine Lakes Realty/Coldwell Banker, because many people buy cottages and eventually convert them into full-time residences.

Ideal for: Boaters who like to fish, thanks to the more than 60 km of navigable river system connecting the region’s five major lakes (Duck, Wilson, Toad, Kawigamog, and Dollars).

Visit the Almaguin Highlands.

6. Bancroft

Three hours from Toronto, this is a region of small lakes—some weedy, some motor-free, and some clear with limestone basins—on largely Crown land, ensuring the place will never get too packed. Cottage stock is often in the 30- to 40-year-old range.

What you’ll pay: $200-$340K.

Typical cottage: A three-bedroom, four-season place on a third of an acre with 208 feet of southwest-facing waterfront and a dock on Steenburg Lake sold in 2009 for $256K.

Endorsement: “Bancroft is still a small town, and there are lots of basic, ‘roughin’ it’ cottages and lots of young families,” says Tim Fulford of BancroftRealEstate.com.

Ideal for: People who like canoeing, and people who are into hiking trails and geocaching in the middle of the bush.

Visit Bancroft.

7. Land O’ Lakes

The name is apt: Part of the Frontenac water system, Land O’ Lakes is as large as Prince Edward Island and contains 5,000 pristine glacier-formed lakes—some don’t even have names.

What you’ll pay: $150-$600K.

Typical cottage: A three-bedroom, four-season place with 202 feet of sandy beachfront and a detached two-car garage sold last summer on Sharbot Lake for $379,900.

Endorsement: “The lakes are clean and healthy. And each one has a personality and an environment that suits different needs,” says Alison Robinson, Lake District Realty. “For example, White Lake doesn’t allow powerboating or fishing, perfect for sailing and swimming.”

Ideal for: Cottagers into outdoor recreation. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle for three days straight, and the huge trail system is great for activities such as biking, hiking, skiing, and sledding.

Visit Land O’ Lakes.

What prices are like in other regions

What you’ll pay Low ($000) High ($000)
Amalguin Highlands 185 260
Bancroft area 200 340
Bruce Peninsula 160 1,000
Eastern Lake Erie 70 2,000
French River & Lake Nipissing 110 800
Georgian Bay North 90 1,550
Georgian Bay South 250 1,300
Haliburton 250 1,500
Kawarthas 180 500
Lake Huron 200 1,250
Lake Scugog & Rice Lake 100 300
Lake Simcoe & Lake Couchiching 300 1,000
Lake St. Clair & Western Lake Erie 200 400
Land O’ Lakes 150 600
Manitoulin Island 100 400
Muskoka 250 5,000
North of Superior, including Thunder Bay 70 200
Parry Sound Central 250 1,000
Prince Edward County & Eastern Lake Ontario 200 1,000
Rideau Canal and lakes 100 1,000
River Country, including Crowe & Trent rivers 140 400
Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie & North Cannel 170 325
Sunset Country, including Lake of the Woods 130 500
Temagami & Lady Evelyn 100 350
Thousand Islands & St. Lawrence River 225 600
Upper Ottawa Valley 230 1,400

*Typical prices, based on waterfront, drive-to properties

This article was originally published on January 28, 2010

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Sep. 4, 2011

1:55 pm

Should this article not be titled "7 Ontario markets to watch"? Not only Ontarians read your magazine!

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